The Healey administration plans to shuttle $50 million in state funds to a “community climate bank” to help reduce greenhouse gasses in new and existing affordable housing, a move Mayor Michelle Wu said will help bring down the cost of living in Boston.
Healey said the new bank will compete for private sector dollars and federal funds available under the Inflation Reduction Act to finance building retrofits that help the state meet “long-term climate objectives” and new construction of decarbonized buildings.”
At an event inside the State House, Healey said the bank is the first of its kind in the nation because of its focus on affordable housing. Residents in the affordable housing market bear a disproportionate burden in energy costs and climate impacts, Healey said.
“The climate bank is the financial engine for cutting emissions and improving health equity and financial security in our communities,” Healey said. “It’s going to unlock and advance a wide range of rebuilding and renovation projects. And it’s going to do that by investing in affordable homes all across the state.”
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said more than 70% of emissions in the city come from buildings, many of them historic but much older homes that are in need of energy retrofits.
“This bank, therefore, will play a crucial role in decreasing the overall cost of living in Boston, decarbonizing affordable housing, sharing the social and economic benefits of the green economy with more of our communities and advancing environmental justice for our EJ communities, those who are in greatest need of services,” she said.
Healey said funding from the new bank will head to developers and other organizations “very, very soon.”
The bank will “accelerate” building decarbonization projects by lending directly to building owners and “by attracting and de-risking lending and investment by private lenders through innovative finance products,” Healey said in a statement.
“Over time, the bank will diversify investments to include other decarbonization measures that benefit communities,” the administration said in a statement.
And to boil down the point of the bank, Healey likened its purpose to Hamburger Helper.
“It really enhances everything and it leverages what we’re able to do,” she said.